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James Abbot McNeill

United States • 1834−1903

Biography and information

In 1855 he went to Paris, where he studied painting at Charles Gleyre, were influenced by Corot, Courbet, as well as the pre-Raphaelites.

In 1879, he withdrew to Venice, where during the 14 months he worked in water-colour sketches and performed fifty etchings, on his return to London he was elected President of the society of English hudojnikov another French artist Alphonse of Legros and persuaded him to move to Angliyu the end of life Whistler is one of the "secular Lviv" London society

American artists were among the first followers Manet and his circle. In 1855 to study painting in Paris came James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). Four years later he moved to London, where he lived until the end of life, but in the sixties came to France and maintained close relations with the gaining force impressionism. In his most famous painting "Arrangement in black and gray. The artist's mother" planar solution shows that Manet, and the strict accuracy of the figure resembles portraits Degas. What this picture has become famous as a symbol of the "cult of the mother", widely spread in our time, is a paradox popular psychology, which would upset Whistler - artist always wanted his paintings, valued only for their formal rank.


Witty, sharp tongue Whistler was a supporter of the theory of "art for art". He considered his paintings analogues of musical pieces and called them "symphonies" or "Nocturnes". The most daring of his work was written around 1874 "Nocturne in black and gold. Falling rocket" . Were it not for the picture explaining subtitle, to understand its sense it would be very difficult. Yet none of French, the artist did not dare to create the picture so "devoid of content, so much like ternerovsky "tinted pairs". This canvas, more than any other, prompted the John Ruskin blame Whistler that he "threw in the face of the audience a pot of ink. (Given that the same Ruskin lionized "slave ship" Turner, the conclusion is that he was attracted not "tinted pairs", but only the romantic pathos of the picture.) During the trial of Whistler against Ruskin, won by artist, Whistler, proclaiming their goals, was supported explanation of the arguments it applies to "Falling rocket": "Perhaps most of all I wanted to show in my picture that is of interest for the artist and therefore deprived her of any other possibilities to attract attention... This is primarily a combination of lines, forms and colors, and I use it every detail in order to make the impression of symmetry". The last sentence is particularly important, as Whistler acknowledges that using random effects, he was reluctant to give depicted resemblance to anything real, and sought only purely formal harmony. Although he rarely as consistently implemented in practice its principles, as in "Falling rocket", his explanation sounds prophetic and predicts the emergence of American abstract painting